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[si-nes-uh nt] /sɪˈnɛs ənt/
growing old; aging.
Cell Biology. (of a cell) no longer capable of dividing but still alive and metabolically active.
1650-60; < Latin senēscent- (stem of senēscēns) present participle of senēscere ‘to grow old’, equivalent to sen- ‘old’ + -ēscent- -escent
Related forms
senescence, noun
unsenescent, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for senescence
  • The resulting panorama is early senescence with all of the common underlying irreversible medical conditions.
  • But many tumor cells can be grown indefinitely in a laboratory culture and are said to have escaped senescence.
  • It will eventually sigh off another shell of gas and settle into eternal senescence as a white dwarf.
  • Eventually they grow so short that the cells reach a state of senescence in which they simply stop dividing or die.
  • Twenty-three years earlier he had written a paper proposing an evolutionary framework for senescence, or aging.
  • senescence helps contain cells so badly damaged that they could turn into cancers.
  • No longer growing or dividing, they enter a state called senescence.
British Dictionary definitions for senescence


growing old
characteristic of old age
Derived Forms
senescence, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin senēscere to grow old, from senex old
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for senescence

1690s, from senescent + -ence. Related: Scenescency (1660s).



1650s, from Latin senescentem (nominative scenescens), present participle of senescere "to grow old," from senex "old" (see senile).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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senescence in Medicine

senescence se·nes·cence (sĭ-něs'əns)
The process of growing old; aging.

senescent se·nes·cent (sĭ-něs'ənt)
Growing old; aging.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for senescence

old age

in human beings, the final stage of the normal life span. Definitions of old age are not consistent from the standpoints of biology, demography (conditions of mortality and morbidity), employment and retirement, and sociology. For statistical and public administrative purposes, however, old age is frequently defined as 60 or 65 years of age or older

Learn more about old age with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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